Happy Humpday Empyreans!
Justin here and I love prepping my food!
I wanted to take the time out today to talk about the importance of meal prepping and how to make it as simple as possible for you and your family. I'll tell you how I personally meal prep my food each week and how you can do it too!
. I have gone through years of trials and tribulations to approaching my cooking and meal prep the way most body builders and fitness models choose to do because
1. It works
2. It now becomes convenient rather than tedious.
This is all after you get the hang of it and find your own rhythm to doing this method. This style of prepping food consists of cooking food in bulk, weighing out the appropriate portions to get the correct amount of protein per serving/meal, and then packing your meals into Tupperware, making it easy and convenient to grab a meal at any time of the day or night.
I do this method about one to two times per week depending on how much food I have time to cook in one shot. It can take me anywhere from 1-3 hours to do the entire “factory line” process and take cleanup into account as well! In the end, you have many meals, ready to go, measured out with the correct portions of macronutrients for your goals, and you do not have to come back into the kitchen to cook or clean for an entire week….how is that for you!?
Once you are able to get past the weird looks from your family and friends, they will all become jealous of your delicious meal you are eating after a long day of work, while they are heating up spaghettio's because they are “too tired to cook”
What Do I Cook?
I like to begin by purchasing a lean protein: chicken, salmon, steak, pork, ground turkey, etc. in a bulk package. This can be a large cut, or take a package of multiple chicken breasts, steak filets, etc. you can get the idea here. “The more the merrier”.
How Do I Cook It?
Then I like to cook my meat in two different ways: typically in a baking dish or diced up cubes of my lean meat in a large oriental wok. You can also use a standard frying pan, especially with ground turkey as I don’t see any other easier way to cook this type of meat– each is very quick and easy, and one may be more appealing or easer to do than the other, so take your pick and also feel free to use your own method. Again, this is what works for me personally.
If you are baking your meat, you can start by lining a dish with tin foil for easier cleanup. I also like to use the foil to make a “boat” with some of the fish I cook. It helps steam it up and make it nice and tender with all of the marinades and seasonings.
How Do I Make It Taste Good?
I typically avoid all seasonings that include excess salt, sugar and ingredients I cannot pronounce! Stick with your black peppers, herbs, spices, Mrs. Dash, (which is salt-free) and for liquids – I like to exclusively use “Lea and Perrin's" all-natural, low sodium Worcestershire sauce. I also use red wine vinegar, small amounts of balsamic vinegar (it does contain small amounts of sugar), and also, hot sauce (this contains some sodium, but it is 10x better than using ketchup or other condiments).
Mustards are good as well. Other than those, you really do not need to add anything else, as they provide TONS of flavors in small amounts and you do not need to really measure the amounts either, because they are virtually salt and sugar-free. I have been marinating meats and cooking with these seasonings for years, finding my particular taste and amounts for each type of meat that I cook, and they all really taste amazing.
This is just me though – ask my girlfriend to eat my food and we may have some dirty looks. She is a lot more particular than I am! Ha-ha. But long story short, you cannot go wrong or screw this up.
What Oil Do I Use?
I like to use extra virgin olive oil for coating to avoid sticking and also adding additional healthy fats to the mix. I may also include a tbsp. of EVOO measured out to drizzle on the final product for an additional 15g of healthy fats! This is a great way to add up the fat calories if you are under for your daily goals.
EVOO is healthy, light and delicious. Due to high fat content though, this is the only liquid I really measure out when I do cook.
Show Me The Veggies!
As most of you should know by now (I hope!), vegetables should make up the majority of your carbohydrate intake during the day. I like to add a cup of veggies to every Tupperware, shake it up to mix it together and it’s ready to go.
I have used other methods in the past, such as adding the veggies to the frying pan, but when going the bulk route, simply purchasing the largest bag of frozen veggies available (stop and shop sells 4.5 lb. bags of frozen broccoli which is a staple for me - $5!), typically take a gigantic bowl, dump the veggies into it, throw in the microwave for 10-12 mins., and then take out to disperse by measuring 1 cup and dumping into each Tupperware.
Using a variety of different vegetables is your preference and you cannot go wrong. Fresh veggies work well too, but keep in mind the cost may be higher and more prep goes into cutting up vegetables. I like this method for the low cost, and convenience.
How Much Do I Cook?
Measuring your meat portions: For men and women I would say there should be a slight difference in the portion sizes because we all require different amounts of protein. The body can only process so much at one time before excess is stored as body fat (any macronutrient in excess can be stored as fat for later use). I would recommend women weighing out their meat in ounces to equate to 12-25g per serving (may be roughly 3-4 oz. give or take), and men 20-30g per serving.
The easiest way to figure out the math per serving is to use your myfitnesspal app – simply type in the meat that you are having, and select the different serving amount in ounces until you have come to a number of protein grams that matches what you should have. Once you have this figured out, take a scale, (if you do not own one, I recommend the “Ozeri touch professional digital kitchen scale” which is about $20 on amazon.com and free shipping. It is excellent.), place an empty Tupperware on the scale and find the weight.
Once you see the weight, you can take your meat and add to it and do not forget to include the Tupperware weight as well – this should allot you an additional 1-1.5 ounces to the total number. (Example: Tupperware is 1.40 oz. Salmon for 28g of protein is 5 oz. My total number should be 6.40.). You may then remove the Tupperware and start to add to the next one, until you have used up all of your meat and filled all the Tupperware.
Add a cup of veggies to the mix, put the lid on, shake it up, and then you’re ready to eat or store for a later time! I have used a package of 5 lbs. of chicken breasts, which came out to be roughly 10 meals! Between eating breakfast and my protein shakes and snacks during the day, I would only need to eat about 2 or 3 per day. This is nearly enough whole meals minus my breakfast for the entire workweek.
Meal prepping does NOT have to be overly complicated. Following a healthy lifestyle is all about the two C’s:
Consistency and convenience.
When you have those two things down, you will be successful. When you overcomplicate your meals and cooking, it can become expensive, tedious to prepare and tiring to cook and clean up. Do yourself a favor – give this approach to cooking an honest shot sometime…you may surprise yourself at how easy and effective it is – also, not having to cook for a week is awesome!